Most British Lameness Issues Aren’t Foot Related

Results from the United Kingdom’s first public National Equine Health Survey pinpointed some interesting facts concerning feet. Some 3,120 horses were represented in the study, says John Slater, professor of equine clinical studies at The Royal Veterinary College.

Collected from horse owners, the data indicated lameness issues were a concern with 11% of the horses. However, the equine foot was not the most common cause of lameness and was a problem in only 3% of the horses. This represents only about half of the normally accepted level of foot concerns with lameness.

Weight management was the second most common concern with 9% of horses being overweight while 8% were underweight. Skin disease was a problem with 5% of the horses, wounds were a problem with 4% of the animals and colic was a concern with 2% of the horses.

“This new data might challenge some established ideas,” says Slater. “For example, the survey found that lameness was common, as you would expect, but that the foot was not the most common cause of lameness. This kind of data has never been collected before from horse owners in the United Kingdom and is invaluable to the veterinary profession and the wider animal welfare industry in helping to influence future research, training and education needs.”

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